Canada’s domestic economy turned in one of the strongest job creation months of the year in September, adding an eye-popping 52,100 new jobs that was five times more than economists expected.
The gain was the third biggest of the year and surprised the experts, which had expected a 10,000 pick-up.
But in another surprise, it wasn’t enough to put a dent in the unemployment rate, which actually edged up one-tenth of a point to 7.4 per cent. That’s because while thousands of Canadians found work in September, even more — 72,600 — joined the labour force.
Still, the pop in new jobs was unexpected given that most economic indicators of the past few months have presented a picture of a domestic economy struggling to maintain momentum amid the general slowdown around the world, particularly the United States, Europe and China.
September’s increase brought year-over-year job creation to 175,000.
The report was even stronger than August’s 34,000 jobs increase, which were all part-time.
Last month, the vast majority were full-time and all in the private sector, although roughly two-thirds were in the self-employment category — jobs that economists say are often lower-paying and less productive.
Statistics Canada said most of the new jobs were taken by workers in the core 25-54 age group, and mostly by men in the first notable increase in employment by men since March of last year.
“With this increase, the employment level for core-aged men is back to its pre-recession peak of October 2008,” the agency said, although the rate of employment remains slightly below that of four years ago.
Regionally, most of the action occurred in Ontario, which saw an increase of 31,600 jobs. Quebec and Manitoba also saw gains.
Statistics Canada said the biggest gains occurred in the retail and wholesale trade sectors, which saw some 34,000 jobs created, while the number of construction jobs rose by 29,000, which has been weak in recent months.
Work in the information, culture and recreation industries saw an increase of about 24,000, and there were about 8,700 new agriculture jobs in the month.
Detracting from the positives were the loss of 19,000 workers in a general category called other services, and a 17,000 decrease in business, building and other support services.